In 1970, Gilbert’s population was 1,971, according to the U.S. Census. That seems like a town. But a town is a legal designation, and changing it requires legal action even when you are approaching 250,000 residents. No one is moving to do that.
Towns have largely the same legal rights as cities. However, a city can draw up a charter for itself, and a town cannot. Cities can elect council members to represent defined districts of the city. Towns cannot.
Does being a city carry weight to businesses or people wanting to move here? Perhaps, but according to Mayor Jenn Daniels, “There is that sense of connectedness within a town that I don’t think you necessarily get when you think of the word ‘city.’”
She doesn’t think it would change much, either.
“I’m not sure if [town namesake Bobby Gilbert] would have cared if we were a city or a town, and I don’t know that it would change the direction that we’re going.”